Governor takes more limited steps to try to rein in rampant virus
DES MOINES – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds took to the social media airwaves Monday night to try and get Iowans to take necessary steps to help slow the current rampant COVID-19.
Reynolds said in the past two weeks 52,000 new cases have been reported in Iowa, which is about the same that were reported from the time the virus hit Iowa until August.
She said Iowans have become complacent and have lost sight of why it was so important to work to flatten the curve and said Iowa’s health care system in Iowa is being pushed to the brink.
“The number of Iowans in the hospital with COVID-19 has doubled to the point that one in every 4 hospital patients has the virus. As the cases continue to climb, hospitalizations will continue to rise at a similar pace.”
To help combat the growing spread, Reynolds is requiring masks in indoor public places if people are unable to socially distance for 15 minutes or longer.
Her proclamation, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday morning also limits indoor social, community, business and leisure gatherings to 15 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 people, including family gatherings, weddings, funeral receptions and conventions.
However the proclamation does not restrict gatherings in workplaces as part of normal daily operations.
All state sports are suspended – except high school, collegiate and professional sports. Spectators at high school sporting events are limited to two per student and masks are required at those venues.
Restaurants and bars are required to close at 10 p.m. and cannot host private parties of more than 15 people. Masks are required by all staff that have direct contact with customers.
State Sen. Rich Taylor (D-Mt. Pleasant) said Reynolds should require masks whenever residents are outside their home.
“I don’t know why she’s being so stubborn and not requiring a mask. All the health care experts are begging for it,” Taylor said.
But Taylor said the steps are more than the Governor has done in the past.
“I guess she’s finally requiring masks at some point. I thought it would be easier to just say you will wear a mask when you’re away from home and around others.”
State Rep. Jeff Kurtz (D-Ft. Madison) said Reynolds still isn’t doing enough.
“I don’t think she takes this thing seriously. I have had problems with all state agencies and constituents not getting services,” Kurtz said. It’s all half measures and everything she’s done has never been enough.”
State Sen.-Elect Jeff Reichman said Reynolds move extra precautions were appropriate in these uncertain times.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Reichman wrote in text to Pen City Current early Tuesday morning.
“President Trump said we were rounding the corner and a vaccine would be available soon, and now two of them are in production. However, we were warned that there’s a high probability that a resurgence would coincide with the flu season and hit has.
“I’ve been thankful that Gov. Reynolds encouraged protective measures wile at the same time being mindful of our civil liberties.”
Attempts to reach Rep-elect Martin Graber were unsuccessful as of this posting.
Reynolds said 1 in every four hospital patients in Iowa hospitals have the virus and that numbers is climbing as well.
“In late October new daily hospitalizations were approaching the 100 mark. Now just two weeks later they have topped 200 a day. And that is not sustainable,” Reynolds said.
She said if the state health care system exceeds capacity, every Iowan is at risk.
“That’s what we’re facing if we don’t do something. Will there be enough first responders to help? Will trauma teams be available? Will you get the care you need. Not if we don’t act,” Reynolds said.
The measures are targeted to activities and environments with potentially significant impacts in short periods of time, she said.
“If Iowans don’t buy into this, we lose. Businesses will close once again. More schools will be forced to go online. Our healthcare system will fail, and the cost in human life will be high,” she said.
“So now is the time to come together for the greater good. To look out for each other–not because you’re told to, but because it’s the right thing to do. That’s who we are as Iowans.”
This story has been updated Tuesday morning to include the comments of Reichman.